Beverley Billiris can now add published author to a resume that includes mayor, educator, world traveler and businesswoman.
She recently co-authored “Danger Beyond the Reef,” a romance novel in which arranged relationships and marriages within traditional Greek culture play a major role.
Her co-author, Harvey Alexander Smith, who has written a book about life in Mexico, conceived the story about youths from big Greek families who fall in love outside their culture amid the setting of both Tarpon Springs and the Greek island of Kalymnos.
Billiris, Smith and a Greek consular official will be at a book signing from 2 – 5 p.m. next Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Tarpon Springs Public Library.
The novel, Billiris said, has historical significance and sparks local interest because it mentions many locations in Tarpon Springs that people will recognize.
She wrote the portions of the book that have to do with characters’ first impressions of the Greek islands, using her own experiences during her visits to Kalymnos, the Greek island to which many Tarponites can trace their roots.
Billiris, who is of Scottish heritage, has been married to George Billiris, a Sponge Dock merchant, for 30 years.
Not one to rest on her literary laurels, Billiris already has plans for another novel in the works, although she would not disclose any plot details.
Smith, who is also of Scottish heritage, has lived in Tarpon Springs for three years. He serves on the city’s Code Enforcements Board.
Smith describes “Danger Beyond the Reef” as an action-packed, fast-paced adventure. It is imbedded with colorful history and culture of the city and Kalymnos during the 1970s.
The novel’s principal character confronts the threat of an unwanted arranged marriage, along with a dangerous outsider who is jealous of his popularity and a mysterious widow who protects him.
In the story, handsome sponge diver Alexander Karastinos is in love with a Cuban girl only to have his father arrange a marriage with a girl of a Greek family. There is romance and drama as the main character confronts his culture and a foe out to get him.
Smith’s previous novel, “El Idolo: In Search of a Legend,” is the story of an aspiring singer set in Mexican. He is working on a book called “Margaritas are for Tourists,” a memoir of his life as an ex-patriot American in Mexico during the 1960s.
The book is available at bookstores such as Barnes and Noble or on Web. Book’s Web site
(source: The suncoast news)